Updated: April 20, 2021 08:17 PM
Created: April 20, 2021 04:36 PM
On Tuesday, former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of all three charges — second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter — in the death of George Floyd last May.
Many are reacting to the news. The following is a collection of those reactions:
President Joe Biden
After the verdict was released on Tuesday, President Joe Biden addressed the nation. Watch his full statement in the video box below.
Gov. Tim Walz
"Today's verdict is an important step forward for justice in Minnesota. The trial is over, but our work has only begun."
"The world watched on May 25, 2020 as George Floyd died with a knee on his neck for nearly nine minutes."
"Thousands of Minnesotans marched in the streets last summer in the wake of his death—inspiring a movement around the globe. While many of these people never met George, they valued his humanity. They knew what happened was wrong. They called for change, and they demanded justice."
"A year later, Derek Chauvin has been found guilty of murder and faces years behind bars."
"But we know that accountability in the courtroom is only the first step."
"No verdict can bring George back, and my heart is with his family as they continue to grieve his loss. Minnesota mourns with you, and we promise the pursuit of justice for George does not end today."
"True justice for George only comes through real, systemic change to prevent this from happening again. And the tragic death of Daunte Wright this week serves as a heartbreaking reminder that we still have so much more work to do to get there."
"Too many Black people have lost—and continue to lose—their lives at the hands of law enforcement in our state."
"Our communities of color cannot go on like this. Our police officers cannot go on like this. Our state simply cannot go on like this. And the only way it will change is through systemic reform."
"We must rebuild, restore, and reimagine the relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve. We must tackle racial inequities in every corner of society—from health to homeownership to education. We must come together around our common humanity."
"Let us continue on this march towards justice."
Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan
"Justice for George Floyd means building a community and a state where everyone is safe. While nothing will bring George back, this verdict is a step toward the vision of justice that sent thousands of people into the streets, demanding change."
"In his last moments, George cried out to his mother. His life and his humanity mattered. Our work is not done until every mother's child is safe, valued, and protected. We must be bold in our thinking, steadfast in our commitment to one another, and courageous enough to reimagine what true public safety means. And we must never forget George Floyd's daughter, who will grow up without a father."
"The grief and pain of so many Minnesotans doesn't go away with one verdict, even a verdict towards justice. And the legacy of this moment and this movement does not end today."
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey
"George Perry Floyd Jr. came to Minneapolis to better his life. But ultimately his life will have bettered our city. Today the jury joined in a shared conviction that has animated Minneapolis for the last 11 months: they refused to look away. They believed their own eyes and affirmed George Floyd should still be here today.
"This murder verdict won't change the fact that George Floyd's family has been rendered incomplete. It won't undo the damage to community, restore the potential and promise of his life, or give a child her father back. But the decision marks an important step in our pursuit of racial justice in Minneapolis – one important step on a much longer journey.
"Generation after generation, year after year, this measure of basic justice has been denied to our Black community. That there will be Black Minneapolis residents and Minnesotans left stunned, suspended in disbelief that the jury actually delivered this moment for George Floyd – that reality speaks volumes to the trauma our society has inflicted both quietly and overtly.
"Ours is a deeply imperfect city – one with its work cut out for it – but as a people we have never been so completely committed to doing that work. Minneapolis is pushing the boundaries of what's possible in policy under state law. We're building up new and inclusive community safety systems and piloting new alternative response programming without tearing down Chief Arradondo's work. We are a city capable of extraordinary progress.
"What makes our democracy work, what will make our community stronger, and what will inform our ability to honor George Floyd's life in both word and deed will be our community's active participation in shaping the future.
"Yes, there will be challenges. And I know we will meet them together, with a shared sense of purpose, an abiding commitment to racial justice, and an unmatched love for the City of Minneapolis."
Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo
"I want to acknowledge and thank the jurors on this case for their immense responsibility and honorable civic duty. The verdict has been read and I respect the process and the decision.
I would like to thank the men and women of the Minneapolis Police Department as well as their families. The past year has been difficult and challenging yet they have continued to show up and serve our community with the respect and dignity they deserve. To our law enforcement partners and the Minnesota National Guard, I want to thank them for their commitment and dedication to serve our City during this time.
We recognize that our community is hurting, and hearts are heavy with many emotions. However, I have hope. The community that I was born and raised in and that we serve is resilient and together, we can find our moment to begin to heal. To the Floyd family, may peace and comfort guide you along the way.
We need calm, safety and peace in our communities, today and in the days to come.
We fully respect and support people's lawful exercise of their first amendment rights. We ask for people to be peaceful and lawful in their actions. Now is the time to use our humanity to lift each other up and not tear our City down.
We have a commitment and an obligation to serve our community and keep our citizens safe. The Officers of the Minneapolis Police Department will continue to do just that; every day and every night we will strive to do our very best to earn your trust."
Minneapolis City Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins
Today our city, our nation took a step towards justice, a step towards accountability, a step towards equity. It continues to give us hope to keep fighting for justice. They said the world was watching, today those 12 jurors showed up. Thank you.
Sen. Tina Smith
"Convicting Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd is a moment of accountability, and also a moment to recommit ourselves to the movement for racial justice his tragic murder sparked.
"Millions of people took to the streets because we couldn't look away from the reality of George Floyd's murder and we could see change had to come. I can't stop thinking about all the Black and Brown people denied their civil rights and denied their lives, where there was no accountability.
"Last week a reporter interviewing me referred to Minnesota as 'the Jim Crow of the North.' Devastating. He was talking about the deep and persistent inequities in housing, health care, policing and the criminal justice system, and economic opportunity that people of color experience in my state.
"These inequities exist, not only in Minnesota, but all across our country. And we can change them.
"What if this verdict is the beginning of a transformation in public safety for Minnesota and our country, where we move past the warrior model of policing and toward a model of truly protecting and serving?
"What if we rethink public safety so that Black and Brown people, and all people, truly feel safe and protected in their homes, neighborhoods and communities?
"This is the work ahead of all of us."
Sen. Amy Klobuchar
"Today's conviction was right. For the Floyd family, nothing will bring back George, but this verdict is a first step towards accountability. Attorney General Keith Ellison and his team did great work prosecuting this case, and the hometown witnesses and police officers who testified displayed such courage in reliving that horrific day and making the case for justice.
"This trial was about George Floyd's murder, but it also captured his life. His brother Philonise Floyd introduced us to a devoted son who struggled to tear himself away from his mother's casket, a loving brother who always made sure his siblings had a snack for school, and a dedicated community member who 'just knew how to make people feel better.'
"George Floyd should be alive today, and this conviction will not bring him back to us, nor will it bring us total justice. As long as George Floyd isn't around to swap trucking tips with his brother, mark the anniversary of his beloved mother's passing, or hug his children again, there will not be justice. And while Black Americans continue to be subjected to a system that keeps mothers and fathers up at night worrying about whether their children are going to come back home every time they get in the car, we know our work is not done.
"As Martin Luther King Jr. once said: 'If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.'
"It's long past time the Senate moves forward and passes police reform to hold officers accountable for misconduct, increase transparency in policing practices, and improve police conduct and training, including banning chokeholds. This is the urgent task before us—not for tomorrow, not for next year, but for now.
"And today, as we reflect on the life of George Floyd, and appreciate this step towards accountability and the work of the prosecutors, judge and jury, we acknowledge our long and winding march towards justice. We renew our commitment towards securing his legacy—not just as the man whose death shined a light on the undeniable stain of racism on our country—but as the man whose memory inspires us to build a more equitable system."
Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka
"Every American is entitled to justice through the legal system. Though no verdict will bring George Floyd back, I pray the Floyd family today is in some way comforted knowing the judicial system has provided justice. Today we have been reminded the determination of guilt is best decided by a jury of peers reviewing the facts."
Rep. Ilhan Omar
"This feels different for our community, justice feels new and long overdue.
Rejoice, my beloved community. Grateful to @AGEllison, jurors, and everyone who made this possible.
Rep. Dean Phillips
"Justice was served for George Floyd today, but America's work, our work, to ensure justice, safety and opportunity FOR ALL will continue with even more intention, more fortitude, and more purpose. Onwards in unity."
Rep. Angie Craig
"George Floyd's death represented yet another chapter in a long history of our nation's failure to stand up for the basic human rights of every American, particularly those of Black men. It is my sincere hope that today's verdict can one day be understood as a turning point in our nation's history – and that this decision will bring a long-overdue sense of peace to George Floyd's family and friends.
While we cannot bring George Floyd back, we can take steps to ensure that tragedies like this are never allowed to occur again. In Congress, I am dedicated to making substantive reforms to our law enforcement system to provide accountability. The House has passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act earlier this year, and the Senate must act now."
Rep. Betty McCollum
"George Floyd should be alive today. While this conviction does not return him to his family and those who loved him, it does deliver justice. We all have work to do to end systemic racism, reduce violence in our society, and demand responsible, respectful policing in Minnesota and in communities across America. I urge Republicans in the U.S. Senate to join Democrats in responding to this crisis by passing the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act as we did in the House. Elected leaders at the local, state, and federal levels must continue to listen and learn from experts, activists, and communities of color. Only by working together can we chart a course for a future free from racial discrimination and senseless violence."
Former President Barack Obama
Today, a jury in Minneapolis did the right thing.
For almost a year, George Floyd's death under the knee of a police officer has reverberated around the world – inspiring murals and marches, sparking conversations in living rooms and new legislation. But a more basic question has always remained: would justice be done?
In this case, at least, we have our answer. But if we're being honest with ourselves, we know that true justice is about much more than a single verdict in a single trial.
True justice requires that we come to terms with the fact that Black Americans are treated differently, every day. It requires us to recognize that millions of our friends, family and fellow citizens live in fear that their next encounter with law enforcement could be their last. And it requires us to do the sometimes thankless, often difficult, but always necessary work of making the America we know more like the America we believe in.
While today's verdict may have been a necessary step on the road to progress, it was far from a sufficient one. We cannot rest. We will need to follow through with concrete reforms that will reduce and ultimately eliminate racial bias in our criminal justice system. We will need to redouble efforts to expand economic opportunity for those communities that have been too long marginalized.
And as we continue the fight, we can draw strength from the millions of people – especially young people – who have marched and protested and spoken up over the last year, shining a light on inequity and calling for change. Justice is closer today not simply because of this verdict, but because of their work.
Michelle and I send our prayers to the Floyd family, in the hopes that they may find peace. And we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with all those who are committed to guaranteeing every American the full measure of justice that George and so many others have been denied.
Minnesota House Speaker Melissa Hortman
"Nothing can bring George Floyd back to his loved ones, and justice does not stop with this guilty verdict. Our work is far from done. Minnesotans deserve safe communities and a fair justice system — no matter what we look like or where we live — and we need to continue to improve accountability in our criminal justice system. Our communities are in pain and trauma. We remain committed to the work that needs to be done to dismantle systemic racism and ensure justice and safety for all Minnesotans."
Minnesota House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler
"I hope this guilty verdict brings George Floyd's family, friends, and loved ones a small measure of closure, but it will not bring Mr. Floyd back nor will it prevent the next killing of an unarmed, nonviolent Black Minnesotan at the hands of law enforcement. Only when we achieve meaningful change to policing and our criminal justice system, led by Black Minnesotans closest to this unimaginable pain and trauma, will we truly be able to say 'Black Lives Matter' in Minnesota. The work continues."
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers
"There's no verdict that can bring peace to loved ones when someone is taken from them. My heart and thoughts are with George Floyd's family, his loved ones, and the entire community.
"While this is a moment of accountability in our justice system and our country, we are reminded that justice for Black lives is not a moment—it requires meaningful, sustained, and systemic change.
"Today's verdict doesn't replace the changes we must make to keep our promises of a more fair and more equitable state and country. Every day—and especially today—we must reaffirm and resolve to continue our work toward justice."
Civil Rights Lawyer Ben Crump
President Biden and VP Harris call the Floyd family after the GUILTY verdict! Thank you @POTUS & @VP for your support! We hope that we can count on you for the police reform we NEED in America! ??? pic.twitter.com/cg4V2D5tlI— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) April 20, 2021
Minnesota People of Color and Indigenous Caucus
"This is not a joyful moment. As we watched the trial and relived the desperate final moments of a man's life and the cruelty of one who is supposed to protect, we were reminded that we do not live in a just society. The finding of guilt in the actions of an officer not only condemns the actions of that man, but our society and public safety system as a whole. While the verdict is guilty, we demand that Derek Chauvin receive the maximum sentence for his crime.
"Justice cannot stop at punishment, it must continue in everything we do to ensure a tragedy like this never happens again. We have the opportunity to create a just society, this verdict has planted the seed of justice in tenuous soil polluted by years of oppression and injustice. It is now up to us, our white colleagues, and all Minnesotans who value human life to nurture this seed so that it may grow into true justice.
"Amongst the chaos of this past year, there are two truths that will stick with us for the rest of our lives and for generations to come. The first; George Floyd should still be alive. The second; George Floyd has changed the world. How exactly the world has been changed remains in our hands. The POCI Caucus will work to create a world where Black Lives Matter, where every life is sacred, where every person feels safe and secure, and where Black, Brown, and Indigenous children can live joyfully free from the oppression of our unjust society.
"Lastly, we extend our deepest sympathies to George Floyd's friends and family. You lost a loved one in a horrific way and your pain was displayed to the world. No one should have to go through what you did. Your courage and perseverance is an inspiration, and we will hold you in our hearts always."
Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis
"We would like to thank the jury for their dedicated work and we understand they had an enormous burden. We also want to reach out to the community and still express our deep remorse for their pain, as we feel it every day as well.
"There are no winners in this case and we respect the jury's decision. We need the political pandering to stop and the race-baiting of elected officials to stop. In addition, we need to stop the divisive comments and we all need to do better to create a Minneapolis we all love.
"To all the residents of Minneapolis, the POFM stands with you, and not against you. Looking forward to working together for a safer, better tomorrow."
Nekima Levy Armstrong - Local activist
"It was difficult to watch the trial of Chauvin and relive the events of May 25, 2020, all over again. My heart aches for George Floyd's family, and although I am happy that Chauvin received the accountability he deserved, we cannot forget that it came at the cost of Floyd's life. I thank the jury for looking at all the evidence and believing their eyes, not the words of the defense. I thank the bystanders, because without their videos, without their voice and testimonies, Chauvin would not have been found guilty of his crimes."
In response to the verdict of Officer Derek Chauvin. George Floyd was murdered by Derek Chauvin of the Minneapolis Police department in a traffic stop on May 25, 2020. Black Visions released the following statement:
"Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd. We knew that much was true the night of May 25th, 2020. The entire Black Visions family sends love and support to George Floyd's family and hopes this verdict brings them some peace. And, we know that true justice would be served only if George was still here with his family, loved ones, and community. We believe in a world where Black people don't have to feel this pain and wonder why these things keep happening. Right here, in Minneapolis, we have the power to abolish the police and prevent the future murders of Black folks", said Miski Noor, Co-Executive Director.
It is both individuals and institutions that bear responsibility for the loss of George's life and the pain his family experiences, so we feel a guilty verdict is an important step for the community and we know that Chauvin is not the exception but the rule. No one conviction, training, or reform can interrupt the rotten foundation of the institution of police and policing. Black Visions will continue to organize alongside others for a police-free future where care is at the center of community safety.
Make no mistake, Derek Chauvin is going to jail but the entire legal system that allowed this murder to take place remains intact. As the people of Minneapolis and greater Minnesota have been calling for justice, healing, and care, Governor Walz and Minneapolis Mayor Frey, in particular, have responded by spending millions of dollars on more police, military-style weapons, and fencing, preparing to go to war with protestors and the community.
Currently, the State is brutalizing community members in Brooklyn Center and across the Metro Area through Operation Safety Net, tear-gassing hundreds of homes while attacking protestors and media. This is further evidence that the violent system that killed George, Dolal, and Duante still stands strong, and why we must divest from policing and invest in real safety, driven by the community to truly protect Black life.
As we await sentencing, check out the people's petition to replace the Minneapolis Police Department with a new Department of Public Safety because we decide what safety looks like for our communities.
Reclaim the Block
We love you George Floyd.
We love you Daunte Wright.
Our only wish today is that you were still here with us.
That's our statement.
That's the work.
Darnella Frazier, the woman who filmed the fatal May 25 arrest, posted the following message to Facebook after Chauvin was found guilty:
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